Royalex canoe gunwale restore

So not long ago we got our first canoe, an 89’ Mohawk Royalex. It’s been great for family paddles but not the best looking due to fading and whatnot. I’m working on painting the exterior but now the gunwales look even worse with the new paint job. Only one side is bad, the other has a nice tan color. I’m guessing it’s because of how it was stored by the previous owner. Is there any way to restore these plastic parts? I tried a heatgun for a bit because I’ve seen people do that to Power Wheels but didn’t see an improvement and tried a lite sanding which didn’t do much either.

Link for high rez. Canoe - Google Drive

I have what looks like the same boat - 1989 Mohawk with tan gunwales.

1989 Mohawk Whitewater 16

Mine is a Whitwater 16. The seats and thwarts have been changed out and it is outfitted with thigh straps, knee pads and float bags, but it has the same tan gunwales, the same seat hangers and the same tan deck plate. Looks like the same boat.

Don’t know that there is much you can do on the faded gunwale. Rub a little 303 or Armor All on it and see what happens. Otherwise I wouldn’t worry about it - adds character.

Never seen another boat with vinyl gunwales that aren’t black - must have been a Mohawk thing.

Nice album! It’s cool to see what this boat is capable of, although we’re not that brave.

Its a great boat - built like a tank, but heavy (at least mine is). Fun to paddle tandem when I can find an adventurous partner.

Back in the1980’s most Old Town gunwales were tan too. I have a '84 Kennebec that has tan trim and I see old trippers on CL from time to time with them. The previous owner of my Kennebec, actually 'antiqued" the tan gunwales in an attempt to make them look like wood. To accomplish this you take about 8oz of polyurethane varnish and mix in an ounce or two of wood stain. You brush this mixture on the desired item allow it to begin to set and then wipe it with a piece of cheese cloth to create a wood grain effect. Then once dry you seal it with another coat of clear varnish. This was a very popular technique back in the late 60’s and the 70’s. I have made it a mission to scrape it off of every piece of furniture I find it on, but it does look pretty good on the boat. If you squint a little, it does look like wood.

Sand it. If you don’t like it, paint it.

Like the post says, I already tried some lite sanding and I don’t want to paint it.

The staining is an interesting idea.

Okay then replace your gunwales with wood.

I was able to get it cleaned up a little bit. I used some automotive scratch remover and a green scotch bright pad. Hope this helps someone in the future.

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